2020-21 saw Shimla rail route earnings dip 80%

Amarjot Kaur

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, August 31

Battling the blows of pandemic-induced inactivity, the earnings of passenger trains plying on the Kalka-Shimla heritage railway track have nosedived by 80 per cent in the fiscal 2020-21. The total earnings have slumped from Rs8.99 crore in the financial year 2019-20 to Rs1.76 crore in the last fiscal.

Before the pandemic, the route, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, made average earnings in excess of Rs9 crore. The figure was Rs8.67 crore in 2017-18 and Rs9.04 crore in 2018-19, revealed data shared by the Ambala Division of Northern Railways with Chandigarh Tribune.

The worst hit are the earnings from parcels, which dipped from Rs3.28 lakh to just Rs1,406. Earnings from 'other coaching earnings', which means revenue from miscellaneous sources, too fell sharply after the Covid-19 pandemic last year. While the earnings under this section had been Rs96.4 lakh and Rs1.095 crore in 2017-18 and 2018-19 fiscals, this figure fell to Rs66.2 lakh in 2019-20 (the year when pandemic started) and dropped to just Rs14.56 lakh in 2020-21.

The passenger earnings fell from Rs8.3 crore in 2019-20 to just Rs1.6 crore. Passenger earnings were Rs7.7 crore and Rs7.9 crore in 2017-18 and 2018-19, respectively.

When contacted, GM Singh, Divisional Railway Manager, Ambala, said, "Almost all regular passenger trains were inactive during the pandemic-induced lockdown in March. Then, some trains were back on tracks in a phased manner. We are still running special trains. We would get maximum revenue from Shivalik Deluxe Express (train numbers 52451 and 52452)."

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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